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Panthers overcome 10-3 deficit, rally to top Braves

Menahga's Tarah Cleveland slid safely into third base as Park Rapids' McKenna Brand stretched for the ball during Thursday's game.

A 17-hit attack and four innings of near-perfect relief pitching by Bailee Jerger sparked the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team to a come-from-behind 11-10 extra-inning victory at Menahga Thursday.

The Panthers faced a 10-3 deficit before scoring five times in the fifth and twice in the sixth to tie the game before winning it in the eighth.

Menahga used doubles by Lindsey White and Amelia Pho to take a 1-0 lead in the first and used singles by Jenny Skoog and Alicia Ahlf, a two-run single by Maria Tormanen, a single by Joy Haataja and a two-run triple by Tarah Cleveland to take a 6-0 lead in the second.

Singles by Caitlan Isaacson, Anna Grimes, Ashley Domino and Olivia Vaadeland and an error led to three Park Rapids runs in the third.

The Braves scored five times in the fourth to claim a 10-3 lead. Singles by White, Haataja, Cleveland, Morgan Clement, Skoog and Ahlf were the key hits in that inning.

Park Rapids' comeback started with a five-run fifth. Alyssa Carlson and Grimes singled to lead off the inning before Domino, Jerger and McKenna Brand lined RBI singles. Ashley Thelen's two-run double capped the inning and closed the gap to 10-8.

Grimes singled and Domino doubled to lead off the sixth. Both scored on Jerger's grounder.

Domino singled with one out in the eighth and scored on Jerger's two-out single for the winning run.

Domino went 4 for 5 with four runs, Jerger went 3 for 4 with four RBI and Isaacson went 3 for 4 to lead the Panthers' offense. Jerger picked up the win in relief, allowing only one hit and one walk while retiring 12 of 14 batters over the final four innings.

Cleveland went 3 for 5 while White, Haataja, Clement, Skoog and Ahlf had two hits apiece to lead Menahga's 15-hit attack. White took the loss, allowing 11 runs while striking out six.

"I was impressed with the way this team fought back and the way we hit the ball," said Park Rapids head coach Marion Goeden, whose team improved to 2-1. "This was totally a team effort."